I am responding to your May 19 article, "Restaurants adjust to leaner times." As strongly as I agree with Chef Michael Gettier's synopsis of the trend in restaurant dining, which is to look for value as opposed to glitter, I disagree with any suggestion that Baltimore is just a "crab and beer town."
The restaurants that take advantage of Baltimoreans' quest for value are highly successful even in these slower economies. Look at Jimmy's Famous Seafood on Holabird Avenue, which continues to crowd them in every night for a fantastic meal.
Why is Nancy Longo so successful at her Pierpoint restaurant on Aliceanna Street or Benny Gordon of Restaurant 2110 on North Charles Street? Chef Longo uses her craft in preparing foods that are creative and appealing to an excitable dining public, while Chef Gordon's menus are reminiscent of modern French cuisine in a definite high manner.
Just because one chef could not sell his "marinated seafood salad of squid, octopus and rock shrimp" does not make Baltimore the backwater of culinary trends. I'd ask Harold Marmulstein what he thinks of the customers that have made the Polo Grill the successful restaurant it is today. Do they ask for brown paper table cloths and drink beer from pitchers?
Granted, times are not as glorious today as they were just five years ago, yet there is always a place and a time for an exciting restaurant to open its doors. Chefs have to realize that their business is to listen to their customers and do their best to prepare and serve the kinds of foods that their customers are asking for.
It is also the job of the restaurants to educate the general public as to the new trends that are around the country. What "trend" is the marinated seafood salad an example of? The dressing, the salad greens mix and the way the octopus was cooked could make a big difference.
Ikaros on Eastern Avenue doesn't have much trouble selling braised octopus in garlic and wine sauce. I think I'll have lunch there.
The writer is director of the professional division at the Baltimore International Culinary College.
Regarding the June 11 conviction of Randall Terry: I do not agree with all of Operation Rescue's actions, but it seems a crazy, mixed-up world when it is legal to kill a fetus but illegal to show a fetus to a presidential candidate.
The Supreme Court has ruled that religious groups have a "constitutional right" to sacrifice animals in worship services.
I thought I lived in a civilized country. What is the difference between animal abuse and animal sacrifice?
The innocent creatures run the gamut from mourning doves to goats.
The large animals are hog-tied until ready for sacrifice, throats cut and laid upon an "altar."
How many are used in a service? One? Ten? I do not know, but I do care.
"Constitutional right" indeed. Thomas Jefferson would roll over in his grave.
Don't Link Super-Collider to Space Station
In your June 17 editorial, "Big Science Decision Time," you compare the space station Freedom with the superconducting super-collider.
Unfortunately, you failed to make a crucial distinction: The super-collider represents basic research of the highest caliber, while the space station is an engineering project that has little to do with science.
You stated that the space station should be built because of international commitments. You are apparently unaware that over 1,000 physicists from about 20 countries are working on the super-collider, some for almost a decade.
Canceling the super-collider would send a signal to the world that the United States is an unreliable partner in international projects.
From your editorial it is clear that you think of the super-collider as a Texas project. It appears that you do not know that physicists from 47 states are working on the project, or that it forms a major part of the physics research program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the University of Maryland at College Park.
Finally, you do not mention that the super-collider is about 20 percent complete, and that all technological mileposts have been met.
Canceling this project would waste the $2 billion that has already been spent. Is that good government? I hardly think so.
I urge you to come visit our laboratories here at Hopkins to find out the truth about the super-collider. Otherwise you risk misinforming the public about one of the great debates facing our country today.
Jonathan A. Bagger
The writer is a professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University.
I'm writing regarding your editorial, "Big Science Decision Time."
You encourage President Clinton to support the space station Freedom and described it as a "dramatic follow-on to the moon shot and the space shuttle."
Unfortunately, you also tried to relate its funding to that of the superconducting super-collider (SSC), a particle accelerator being constructed in Texas. You suggested that the SSC be killed or delayed in order for the space station to survive. The SSC has no connection to the space station and it should not be killed, delayed or otherwise involved in any decision regarding the space station. Each program should rise or fall on its own merits.
In this regard, I would point out that the SSC is a well-designed machine which will investigate fundamental questions about the universe. As you said, it offers "thrilling scientific possibilities."
It has been thoroughly reviewed technically and scientifically. It is already under construction, which means killing it wastes the investments already made. Delaying it will increase its cost and cause inefficient use of manpower and funds.
Teams of scientists at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland are working on its development. Companies in Maryland are developing equipment for use in experiments to be performed at the SSC. These scientists and companies are collaborating with others from around the world in an international effort to expand the technical and intellectual boundaries of mankind.
Finally, the citizens and children of Maryland will have their minds expanded and their education enhanced as the SSC answers questions about how nature operates at the most fundamental level and how the universe behaved in the moments right after the Big Bang.
In summary, the superconducting super-collider is important to Maryland and our country. It deserves your strong support for full funding and a rapid completion. It should not be held hostage to the space station.
Bruce A. Barnett
The writer is a professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University.
A June 21 editorial accuses teachers and their unions of "blocking the necessary revitalization of education" and of "doing a poor job separating their professional selves from their union selves."
That's an old canard that teachers don't buy. Teachers learned along time ago that if they didn't stand up for themselves and their students, nobody else would -- particularly the politicians who trim school budgets while imposing one ridiculous "reform" after another. And they have also learned that not every cockamamie, poorly educated notion taken up by a school superintendent should be dignified with the term "initiative."
Teachers want what students need. Teachers don't want what politicians need -- look-good fads that take the heat off for a while (e.g., privatization scams, test-'em to death gimmicks, reduced certification standards, get-tough school closures, etc.).
What kids don't need is more "crowd control pedagogy" delivered by overloaded teachers. Students need personal attention to succeed at school. That takes much higher staffing levels than politicians are willing to pay for.
So, instead of blaming teachers for problems at school, join with them in supporting the higher expenditures required for real reforms that, teachers know, work.
Jane R. Stern
The writer is president of the Maryland State Teachers Association.